Fear, anger, grief. These are emotions we normally try to make go away. But if you face your demons and give them what they need, they will transform and even turn into your allies. Lama Tsultrim Allione offers a five-step method.
Last year I got divorced and moved from a large house on the edge of the village with a lush garden and a view of the rising sun over the fields to a modest apartment in the city center with a tiny yard. As much as I like my new home, I was bothered at first by the loss of status. A vague fear haunted me, the idea that I was a bit of a failure now, just like my marriage. I knew it was an old fear, a ghost from the past, which had more to do with how I was raised than with my authentic self. But that insight didn’t help me enough. When I read Tsultrim Allione’s book “Feed Your Demons”, I realized I had a demon dwelling in my soul.
I was eager to try an exercise she developed. I pictured my dissatisfaction as a prickly monster, a little fiend standing in front of me and screeching insults: “Idiot! Loser!” I tried to sense what the demon wanted, and the answer came to me naturally, “To make it clear to you that you are leaving me out in the cold.” Then I asked it, “What do you really need?” For a moment, the monster was silent. It sat down, and once again, I tried to sense its point of view. Then it answered, in a meek little voice, “Security.” I understood. This was probably the very same creature that had haunted my mother for such a long time. She’d had many terrible childhood experiences, so to feel safe, she needed lots of money and status. As a result, she had also raised us with those ambitions.
Third question: “How will you feel when you get what you really need?” The monster gave a little grin and became less prickly. “Then I can relax,” it said. I followed the rest of Allione’s five-step plan, visualizing my body as nectar, one big supply of sweet, delicious security. Then I invited the monster to drink. It guzzled down the nectar, and by the time it was satisfied, it had turned into a chubby little pig, which fell asleep and started snoring loudly. All of a sudden, I noticed brightness, a luminous being hovering over the creature, which made me realize that I already have more than enough security. I’d much rather pursue adventure, a new life, with all the risks and opportunities that go with it. My inner demon had been disarmed and changed into sparkling vitality.
We are used to battling our problems, Allione writes, “We live by the myth in which we seek out, battle against and ultimately destroy the enemy within and without,” according to her. It’s true, we believe that we have to struggle against our old beliefs and patterns, against illness, addiction and depression. We try to shed our fears and overcome our anger as quickly as possible. We even try to fight back our tears. And does it work? Of course not. What you fight usually just gets bigger and stronger.
Want to read more and free yourself from your inner demons in 5 steps? In Happinez issue 22 “Feel the Sun” you can read more about the Tibetian tradition and how to get rid of your inner demons.
Text: Lisette Thooft